A/N: I'm so, so sorry this chapter took a while for me to release, you guys. In the time since the release of the previous chapter, I've accumulated a lot on my plate.
First off, the coronavirus, obviously. My home state was one of the first to issue a statewide "stay-at-home order", which really, really, REALLY screwed up my schedule for everything, both school-related and writing-related. I had to make a lot of major adjustments to my plans and schedules, which did wonders for my mental health (obvious sarcasm is obvious).
And then, there was the magical thing known as school. Even before the pandemic came to a huge head here in the U.S. and across the globe, I was quite preoccupied with my studies. After all, it was my last semester at college, and I would be graduating very soon with a Bachelor's Degree in Literature & Writing Studies (in layman's terms, English). Things got even more complicated when the coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic and the stay-at-home orders were issued. It was both a convenience and an inconvenience at the same time, because while it gave me greater opportunities to write this chapter and others, I had to transition to a spanking-new online format for my college studies. It was difficult at first but I was able to overcome the obstacles in the end.
And now, after many years of hard work, I'm officially done with my studies and am technically an alumni of my school! HOORAY! Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, my commencement ceremony had to be postponed indefinitely due to safety concerns, and I still have yet to hear about an official rescheduled date. So right now, I am technically stuck in a limbo, having no official diploma or recognition of graduation from my college, but having also completed all of the units I needed to graduate. Now isn't that sweet? XD :P
In my spare time, I've been coming up with so many potential ideas for another "My Hero Academia" fic. In fact, as I'm sure you already noticed, I posted another "My Hero Academia" fic, called "Rei Todoroki: Pro Hero!". It's another AU fic, but unlike "Hero Club", it's a loosely-connected series of one-shots that are more compliant with the canon timeline. As for what the fic's about, well, the title should speak for itself. Go check it out if and when you're able!
There's more to my announcement, but I'm going to save that for my ending Author's Note. Any more of this and I know I'm going to bore you and make you skip through this entire thing. I know I would. XP XP XP
Alright, I think that's about it for my little bout of rambling! On with the long-awaited chapter. ENJOY!
P.S.: Due to the ever-worsening situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, I'm going to have to remind you all about the basic steps you should take if you want to stay healthy, courtesy of my university's reminder emails:
-Wash hands often with soap and water for 20-30 seconds at a time, and/or use hand sanitizer
-Avoid close contact with people who are sick
-Keep your hands away from nose, eyes, and mouth (I can't imagine how difficult this part is probably going to be)
-Eat well, get adequate rest, and exercise regularly
-Get a flu shot if you haven't already and are able to
And if you ARE sick (I hope you get better if you are), please be a good sport and save other folks the trouble of getting sick. You can do this by:
-Covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve, elbow, or a tissue whenever you sneeze or cough
-Not sharing food and drinks with others
-Avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes (Again, I understand this is probably going to be difficult)
-Avoiding close contact with others
-Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects
-Staying at home if you're unwell (PRIORITY NUMBER ONE!)
-Staying calm and keeping yourself well-informed (My personal advice)
If you already know this, then great! If you didn't know any of this beforehand, please keep that information in mind as we all go through this trying time. It's a realm of unknowns at this point, and I wish myself and all of humanity well.
"Yo, tubby boy! Another one!"
Nirengeki Shoda glared at the trio of boisterous thugs that were seated in the table closest to the counter. One was large and burly with a receding hairline and the kanji for "doom" tattooed on his shining forehead. Another was bald and lanky, and he sported a crooked nose and a pair of beady eyes. The third was somewhat smaller than his compatriots and frail-looking, but his eyes made up for that appearance with their wild, hungry-looking pupils. Before them were large bowls full of ramen noodle soup of various flavors, as well as ovular plates holding a multitude of appetizers.
Then, Nirengeki looked over his shoulder and saw his parents working in the kitchen with their sole coworker. His mother looked up towards the thugs' table for a moment, and the stout boy could see the glimmer of fear in her eyes.
With gritted teeth, he looked back at the thugs and flashed them his usual fake smile.
"Sure thing, sir. And for our...favorite customers...i-it's on the house."
"As usual," he added in his head.
"Yeeeeeaaaaah!" the trio chorused enthusiastically before clinking their beer bottles together.
Taking a deep breath, Nirengeki looked over his shoulder again. He could see his father's face hardening even further as he cooked the broth, while his mother had to choke back a sob. The coworker, on the other hand, made his apprehension and terror as clear as day. The boy pursed his lips before speaking.
"Mom, Dad," he said, "I think I'll take a break. Can one of you take the register for me? I'm gonna throw the trash out."
"I'll do it," replied Nirengeki's father. "Tameda, you've got the broth."
"S-Su-Sure thing, Sh-Sh-Shoda-s-sa-sama," stuttered the young man, lowering the cutting board holding minced meat.
Nirengeki did not wait for his father to emerge from the kitchen. He removed his apron, hung it on the rack next to him, and strolled through the family restaurant. Everywhere he looked, all of the other tables were unoccupied, which left the whole atmosphere lifeless and dreary.
"Ahhh, where ya going, tubby?!" called one of the thugs, his voice slightly slurred. "Come on, let us beat on that tummy of yers, see how it jiggles!"
Nirengeki clenched his fists as jeering laughter assaulted his eardrums. He mustered all of his composure and discipline to avoid kicking the trashcan over in a fit of rage. Instead, he picked it up as calmly as he could, opened the front door, and stepped out into the cold night. The stout boy stared longingly towards the mountains where the Sun had set a few moments earlier, and he sniffled.
Then, he was about to approach the dumpster when he heard a faint voice.
"Pssst! Shoda! Hey, Shoda!"
"Huh?" Nirengeki looked around, stunned and confused. "Wh-What?"
"Over here!" the voice called quietly. Nirengeki glanced at the alleyway beside the restaurant, but he saw nothing there. "No, the other way!"
Nirengeki looked at the alleyway on the other side of the building. To his surprise, he saw a group of colorfully costumed figures. It didn't take him long to figure out who they were.
"W-What-?!" Then, Nirengeki looked into the shop to see if the occupants were in earshot, before lowering his voice. "W-What're you guys doing here?!"
"We're here to help you!" Mei cried, lowering her kerchief from her mouth and removing her steampunk goggles to show her face.
"Help me?!" Fear washed over Nirengeki's face. "Wh-Wh-Whaddaya mean 'help me'?!"
"You mentioned the Shie Hassaikai liked to eat your parents' ramen," replied Izuku, who was in his Yamikumo costume.
"When was this?!"
"Earlier today, in the club room!"
"Yeah!" added an enthusiastic Mei. "So we figured liberating your ramen shop would be the best way for the Hero Club to make its first mark on the community!" She started punching the air. "And what better way to instill fear in the hearts of criminals than to hit the Shie Hassaikai where it hurts: their stomachs!"
"You make it sound like we have to burn down the building..." deadpanned Eijiro, who was in his Crimson Riot cosplay.
Nirengeki worriedly looked back into the shop. Once it was clear no one inside was overhearing the conversation, the boy ushered the others further into the alleyway, following them inside.
"Look, guys," he said, "I appreciate your help, I really do. I-" At that moment, he noticed the others. "Wait, what are you guys wearing?"
"Oh, this?" Denki asked, proudly tugging at his jacket. "Hatsume bought these costumes for us."
"More like she was holding onto them..." replied Hanta while he looked down at his legs. Unlike Denki, discomfort riddled his face as he straightened out his lower limbs. "She picked these out of some...some cosplay collection she had over at her home for God knows how long. Said they suited us perfectly."
"And they do, Cellophane!" Mei cried giddily while giving the two boys proud looks.
Nirengeki scanned Denki and Hanta's forms once his eyesight fully adjusted to the darkness of the alleyway. Having read Our Hero Academia dozens of times, he recognized Denki and Hanta's cosplay outfits as being based on Voltcharger and Cellophane's Hero costumes.
Denki was wearing a plain white T-shirt, an open black jacket with a white lightning-shaped pattern across the back, and matching pants with two white lines running down his legs. Clipped over his right ear was a single, square earphone with a radio antenna sticking out of the top. Finally, dangling from his right hand to complete the costume was a large, black domino mask. The costume, combined with his blond hair and rascal-like face, Denki looked like he would fit in perfectly with some cyberpunk street gang.
As for Hanta, he was wearing a black-and-white, plain-looking, skintight bodysuit with a somewhat large turtleneck. The sleeves stretched midway down to his elbows and ended with yellow stripes. He also wore white-and-yellow-lined boots and silver short, tape dispenser-like bands wrapped around his waist, the sides of his thighs, his chest, and his shoulder pads. In his hands was a yellow helmet with a large black visor. Nirengeki could only imagine how accurate he would look to the Cellophane of the manga if he put on that helmet.
"For once," he thought, "I'd say Hatsume was right."
At that moment, Eijiro asked, "Yo, Ashido, you got anything to say? You've been awfully quiet back there."
Nirengeki's eyes widened in shock. "Wait, Ashido's here?!"
Indeed, the ganguro girl slowly, uneventfully stepped out from the shadows, her submissive posture and meek demeanor a far cry from her usual reputation as a popular, sought-after seductress at school. Unlike the rest of the group, she was wearing an entirely original costume, based on nothing Nirengeki observed in Our Hero Academia. It consisted of a light-pink wig; a plain white eye-mask over her eyes; brown boots; and a purple-and-turquoise, skintight bodysuit colored in a camouflage pattern. To the utter dismay of Nirengeki and his hormones, the top of the bodysuit ended directly above Mina's chest, leaving the top of her cleavage slightly exposed. Mina also wore a tan waistcoat with elbow-length sleeves and a collar lined with large, fluffy fur that was joined together by two clasps, giving it the semblance of a luxury, custom scarf.
"W-W-Wh-What's A-Ashido doing here?!" Nirengeki exclaimed, his voice cracking in his incredulity.
"She's a new member!" Mei replied in her chipper voice.
"She...She joined the club?! H-Ho-How'd she even find out?!"
Denki could only let out a nervous chuckle in response.
"Look, Shoda," Izuku said, "Ashido can be trusted. She's a member now, so you have no reason to worry."
"I-If you insist..." replied an ambivalent Nirengeki.
Before the conversation could continue, the teens heard the front door to the shop burst open, immediately followed by a trio of drunk laughter. They retreated further into the shadowy alleyway and watched as the same thugs Nirengeki had to service earlier clambered across the street. The large, burly, forehead-tattooed man looked like he was handling his beer intake well compared to his compatriots, who were both almost tripping over one another. Nevertheless, all three looked physically diminished enough to not pose much of a threat, even if they worked together.
"Are those the thugs you were talking about, Shoda?" Izuku asked, his eyes narrowing at the sight of the trio.
"Yeah..." Nirengeki replied, a look of bitter loathing sweeping over his face. "They look so high and mighty, knowing they didn't have to pay a single yen for the food and drinks."
"They look like real assholes..." Eijiro growled.
"Alright, you guys," said Izuku as he put on his mask. "Let's get ready."
Upon remembering what his fellow club-mates were intending to do, Nirengeki stood in front of the group before any of them could leave the alley.
"N-No!" he cried in a hushed voice. "Look, I know I said I appreciated your help, you guys, bu-but I can't do this! I know they're drunk and all, b-but even so, they can definitely put up a good fight! Trust me, I've seen them get into fights with customers a few times before! I'm not gonna risk my life protecting my parents' ramen shop!"
"Who said you were gonna fight alongside us?" Denki asked.
Nirengeki blinked twice. "H-Huh?"
"It was Midoriya's idea," Hanta said. "He figured since those guys like to eat at your place, like you said, they'd recognize you in a jiffy if you put on your costume and helped us out. Can't risk having your ass bitten down the road if the rest of the Shie Hassaikai know who you are and where you live."
"So you're gonna play the role of innocent bystander!" Mei cried happily.
"I-Innocent bystander?" Nirengeki's eyes widened. "O-Oh! Th-That'll work!"
"So, what do you think, Shoda?" asked Izuku. "Are you good to go now?"
"Ye-Yeah, I-I guess..." Nirengeki's face started to beam with awe and excitement. "W-Wow... I...I dunno how exactly you guys are gonna pull this off, b-but if it works-"
"It'll work, Shoda." Izuku grinned confidently at him behind his mask. "Trust me."
"Okay... Alright, alright..." Then, Nirengeki took a deep breath to calm himself down...and then, he looked into his eyes with blazing determination. "Alright, so whaddaya want me to do, then?"
"Sooooo...whaddaya wanna do nooooow...?"
"L-Lez, uhhhhh...lez go rub sum poor sugger..."
The three thugs stumbled further down the street, their faces flushed and their bellies slightly bigger. A combined stench of alcohol and poor physical hygiene hung over them like a fog. It was powerful enough that it reached the poor nostrils of Izuku, Mina, and Denki as they hid behind a bush that the trio passed by.
"Holy crap!" Denki squealed as he covered her nose and mouth. "We have to fight them while they're like...that?!"
"We've got no choice," Izuku replied. He peered over the leaves of the bush, his mask serving as a slightly efficient filter against the foul odor. "Now that these guys are drunk, there's no telling what they'll do once they come across someone walking home."
"Well, I guess they did just say they wanted to rob some guy. ...I think."
Izuku watched for a few more seconds as the trio continued staggering along, with the forehead-tattooed man breaking out into a terrible, off-beat song. Then, he withdrew his head and checked on his wristwatch.
"Okay," he whispered to the others. "Listen up, guys. Shoda's gonna be calling the cops in three more minutes. We need to jump these guys in two. That way, we'll give ourselves three to five minutes to take them all down and run before the cops show up. When my watch beeps, we'll-"
"Whoa, whoa, okay, Midoriya!" interrupted a flabbergasted Denki, "C-Can you just slow down a little? Jeez, I understand we'll be kicking ass and all, but I think you're getting a little waaaaay too excited about this!"
"H-Huh?" At that moment, Izuku realized he was a little out of breath. "So-Sorry, Kaminari! I-It's just, well..." He looked over his shoulder to trace the thugs' movements again. "We've been terrorized by crooks like them for far too long. It's nice to make a difference and inspire hope for a change."
"You really wanna do this, don't you...?"
This time, it wasn't Denki who spoke, but Mina. Izuku was about to look at her, but once his eyes met hers, he whipped his head away, a pink hue blossoming on his cheeks.
"W-Well, o-of course," the viridescent boy stammered. He could feel the heat rising in his face.
"Ohhhhh, Hatsume!" he thought in dismay. "Why'd you have to pick that kind of outfit for Ashido?! Wh-Where'd you get that, anyway?! I-It looks like something a pr-pr-pro-pro-pros-prostitute would wear!"
"Well, then," Denki said as he peered over the bush, "I can now see another reason why you really liked reading manga. They inspire hope for a better future and all that other sentimental shit, am I right?"
"Hm." Izuku watched Denki's brow furrow. "You know, Midoriya, I never really given much thought about the future. I'm more of a here-and-now kind of guy, ya know what I'm saying?"
"But you know what?" Denki withdrew his head and gave Izuku a thumbs-up. "How am I gonna be living in the here and now if I've got crooks like 'em breathing down my back? So I guess I've got another reason to help you out, am I right?! Huh, am I right?!"
Izuku pursed his lips ambivalently. "Ye-Yeah...I-I guess so..."
"What about you, Ashido?" Denki looked at Mina, who squeaked in surprise at the acknowledgment. "What do you have that's at stake because of these lowlifes?"
"Wh-Wh-What do I have?" Mina asked, stunned.
Izuku looked at her again before he could help himself. But before he could yank his eyesight away from her scandalous-looking body and outfit, he found himself stunned by the distant, introspective look on the ganguro's face.
"Whoa... I don't think I've ever seen Ashido look so deep in thought before. It's...It's so weird-looking... I-It's like seeing Kacchan turning into the Thinker!"
But before Mina could give Denki some sort of answer, the trio heard the thugs speak again.
"Well, well, well... Looks like weh got luckeh tonight, boys!"
Izuku, Mina, and Denki peered over the bush, and to their horror, they saw the three thugs encircling a boy wearing their school uniform, just a half-block away. Despite his large, heavyset appearance, the boy was absolutely petrified, and not a single sound was coming out of his mouth, not even his own breathing.
"Holy crap!" Denki cried in a hushed voice. Then, his expression changed from fear to familiarity. "Hey, the kid looks a lil' familiar..."
"Oh, hey there, Koda! You wanna review our history homework?"
Izuku's eyes grew wide. "You're right! That's Koji Koda!"
Denki looked at him, confused. "Wait, who?"
"We gotta move in now!"
But before Izuku could move out of his shelter, a rapid beeping noise filled the air. His heart skipped a beat at the sound, and he looked down at his wristwatch.
Then, his heart skipped another beat when he heard another voice.
"Hey, y...ya hear that? Sounds like a dinner bell..."
"A dinner bell? Where da hell da ye get that from...?"
"Hey, it...it sounds like it's comin' from over there-"
"They're onto us!" Izuku cried. "We have to go now!"
There was no turning back now. Izuku had already leaped out of his hiding spot and was now running towards the three thugs. Koji was the first to spot him, followed by the three crooks. One of them, the man with the hungry-looking pupils, snorted derisively at the incoming adolescent.
"Awwwww, is that a bunny? So- AGH!"
Izuku had tackled him to the pavement and began restraining his arms, prompting the other two crooks to move in.
"That ain't no bunny!" the forehead-tattooed man cried, the slur in his voice slightly receding as he grabbed the back of Izuku's neck. "Just some punk in a costume! Lez fudge 'im up!"
"Ohhh, no you don't, ya sucker!"
Mei ran into the fray and whacked the burly man's leg with some sort of stick. He grunted and his face twitched in slight pain, prompting him to let go of Izuku, but the blow failed to keel him over. Nevertheless, it diverted his attention away from Izuku, allowing him to continue grappling with the thug.
"H-Hey!" the thug cried. "Yo, wh-what's the big idea?!"
Izuku gritted his teeth at the callousness at display. "You're not gonna rob Ko- I-I mean, this defenseless boy, you thief!"
With that, Izuku flipped the thug over and forcibly put his arms behind his back. The man howled and tried to resist, but his weak stature and inebriated state of mind put him at a disadvantage against even Izuku. This gave the boy an ample opportunity to pull out a roll of duct tape Hanta had given him, rip off a strip, and use it to tie the man's arms together at the wrists. He then tore out another strip and did the same thing to his legs, effectively disabling him.
"SHIT!" the thug cried. "You a cop or somethin', kid?!"
"Far from it," Izuku spat. Then, he stood up and approached Koji Koda, who had taken cover behind a mailbox that was too small to fully shelter him. He was now peering out from it like a terrified puppy. "Hey, hey, it's okay. You're safe. The police will be on their way. You can come on out."
But Koji refused to budge, prompting Izuku to backtrack.
"Oh, no. I forgot Koda's not the most sociable one. Ohhhhh, I don't know much about him either! Why didn't I try talking to him at school?! Kacchan and the others liked to pick on him too. I need to gain his trust, but how...?"
"Are..." Koji's voice sounded meek and almost adorable for someone his size. "Are you...a rabbit man...?"
Izuku blinked at Koji. "Huh?"
"Y-Yo-Your costume l-lo-looks like a r-ra-rab-rabbit..." Koji replied, his voice low and meek.
"Holy whoa! That's the first time Koda's ever spoken to me! Gotta keep it cool, gotta keep it cool!"
"Yes, I am!" Izuku replied with his chest sticking out.
"WHY'D I SAY THAT?! I'M NOT A RABBIT MAN!"
Koji stared at the costumed Izuku with some semblance of awe before looking over the other boy's shoulder. The larger boy's eyes grew wide, and he pointed his finger.
"Y-Yo-Your f-fr-friends are in trouble, R-Ra-Rabbit Man!"
Izuku followed Koji's finger and saw the erupting commotion. Without a second thought, he rushed back into action.
From his own hiding place in an alleyway, Eijiro watched alongside Hanta as Mei diverted the massive, forehead-tattooed man's attention away from Izuku. Then, she stood her ground and stared at him with confident, unwavering eyes.
"Damn," Hanta muttered to himself. "That Hatsume girl's got guts, I'll give ya."
"You could say that again..." Eijiro thought. He took a downward glance at his empty hand before refocusing on the thug, who was staring down at the pink-haired otaku, taking note of her impromptu Hero costume.
"What, is the cosplay convention in town?" the thug asked dumbly. Then, he tilted his neck from side to side, popping it at the joints. "Eh, I don't give a shit. I don't like otakus anyway."
"Well, then," Mei replied with a wild grin, "I guess this is gonna make your defeat a lot more humiliating for you, Villain! NOW!"
Realizing their cue, Eijiro and Hanta dashed out of the alleyway and tackled the man from behind at the same time. They were soon joined by Denki, who proved to be the force they needed to topple the thug over.
"K-Kami- I-I mean, Ch-Chargebolt!" Eijiro called while he pressed his weight down on the man's back and simultaneously pinning his head to the asphalt. "Get his right arm! Ser- D-Damn! Ce-Cellophane, get his left!"
"W-Wa-Wait!" Denki cried. "My right, or his right?!"
"Your right, damn it!"
"Wha-What da fuck iz dis?!" the large thug shouted. He was trying his best to struggle against his captors' grip and ward off the strong buzz of alcohol.
"Your worst nightmare, ya punk," Eijiro snarled as he pressed the man's head further against the ground. "Come on, you guys, he's struggling!"
Denki grabbed the man's right arm and held it to his back. Meanwhile, Hanta did the same for the left, while Eijiro moved to the man's flailing legs and held them down.
"Alright!" Denki cried, straining to keep the man's right arm composed. "You got the tape, man?!"
"You betcha!" Hanta replied. Using his knees to pin the thug's left arm down, he procured a roll of duct tape, ripped off a long strip of it, and was about to use it to tie up the man's wrists when he noticed.
"H-Hey!" snapped the thug. "Whaddaya think you're doing?!"
Denki slapped him in the cheek. "Hey! Shut it! We're tying you up like the crook you are."
"AGH! NO! NO, DON'T BRING ME IN! I'M TOO GOOD FOR PRISON!"
The man began flailing his limbs wildly despite the restraint placed on them by the boys. Reacting quickly, Hanta dropped the roll of duct tape and held the man's left arm down with his hands again. Meanwhile, Eijiro was still trying to restrain the man's legs when one of his feet struck Eijiro squarely in the eye.
"AGH!" the redhead cried. "Ah, son of a-"
At that moment, Izuku came in and helped Hanta and Denki pin the man down with his weight. Then, he looked at Eijiro in concern as the redhead toppled off of the thug's swinging legs.
"Kiri- I mean, Red Riot!" Izuku cried, quickly taking over Eijiro's position. "Are you alright?!"
"Yeah, yeah!" Eijiro replied, his voice somewhat shaky. He gave the other boy a thumbs-up while holding his eye with his other hand. "D-Don't worry! It's just a lil' scratch. Help the others out!"
Meanwhile, as Denki used his strength to hold the man's arms back, Hanta got off the man's back and retrieved the roll of duct tape. He ripped off a strip with his own teeth and held it out towards the thug's arms.
"Keep his arms close together, man!" the black-haired teen ordered.
"No!" snapped the thug. "You fucking kids are gonna regret this!"
"Keep dreaming," Denki spat back.
He then used all of the strength he could muster to move the thug's arms towards one another. Now that he wasn't being backed up by anyone else, it proved to be quite a struggle for Denki, like he was attempting to join the same poles of a magnet together. Fortunately, the blond adolescent managed to keep the arms close enough for Hanta to bind them with the duct tape.
"Alright, I got it, I got it!" Hanta cried.
With that, Denki compressed his weight on the thug's torso while he turned around and helped Izuku hold the man's legs down. Hanta promptly tore out a second strip of duct tape and use it to tie the man's legs together, thus restraining him. This allowed Izuku, Denki, and Hanta to stand back up.
"You dumbasses!" the man howled. "You dumbasses! D'you have any idea who we're working for?!"
"I think we've got a vague idea," Hanta replied calmly. Then, he tore out a third strip and taped it over the captive thug's mouth, muffling his voice. "Now shut up and wait for the cops to get you."
Now that the criminal was silenced, the boys attended to Eijiro while the thug simply writhed on the ground.
"Dude," Denki said. "You sure you're alright?"
"It looked like he got you good," added Hanta as he tried to get a good look at his friend's injured eye.
"No, no," Eijiro replied urgently. "I swear, I'm fine, I'm fine. H-Hey, wh-what about Ashido?"
Meanwhile, Mei was thrown to the ground. Though she landed with a grunt, the pink-haired otaku merely glared back up at her assailant, the bald, crooked-nosed thug. He towered over her, cracking his knuckles menacingly.
"Ya got a nice bod," the man commented, scanning Mei's body from head to toe with a lecherous smile. "I think I'll 'ave a lil' taste of y- OOF!"
He was cut off by Mina, who had run up to him and sucker-punched him. The man spun around from the force of the hit, before he fell to the ground, apparently unconscious. Once he was down, Mina winced and started waving her hand as if something had gotten stuck to it and she wanted it off.
"OW! OW, FUCK! GODDAMN!"
"Wow!" Mei exclaimed, her eyes gleaming with awe behind her goggles while she stood up. "Nice punch, girl!"
But Mina was reeling and holding her fist, her tanned face contorted in pain. "God, how do people punch each other and walk away like it's nothing?! God fucking damn it! Your club had better be prepared for these kinds of injuries!"
"Don't worry!" Mei gave the ganguro her widest, toothiest smile yet. "We at the Hero Club anticipate all kinds of injuries, from scrapes to bruises to cuts to gashes to-"
Mina cut her off by waving her palms at her. "Okay, okay, I'm gonna stop you right there."
"Point is, I'll have an ice-pack ready for ya tomorrow!"
Mina's eyes almost bulged out of her head. "Tomorrow?!"
"Hey, I didn't expect you to not take that punch so well! If you're gonna be a member of the Hero Club, then you should be trained in close-quarters combat!"
Mina scowled at the otaku. "Well, sorry, but I didn't get that memo."
"Well, now you know, my friend."
The ganguro blinked and then rolled her eyes. "Oh. So that's what you think we are? Friends?"
"Well, it's up to you." Then, Mei's eyes widened in surprise. "Behind you!"
Mina ducked on instinct, just in time to avoid an incoming punch from the bald, crooked-nosed thug, who had recovered and stood back up. Still somewhat inebriated by the alcohol he consumed, the man spun around lazily from the speed of his own attack. Then, he straightened himself out and put on a fighting stance that looked more pathetic than terrifying.
"S-So," the man slurred, "ya...ya wanna fight, eh girls?" He hiccuped softly. "Well...I'll show ya a good fight!"
He swung at Mei, but she ducked and then punched him in the side of the gut. With a grunt, the man clutched at his side with one arm and tried swinging with the other, but Mei ducked again and punched him in the other side.
"OW! God-Goddamn betches. Why don't...why don't ye fight like...like real men- AGH! OOF!"
A disbelieving Mina had taken the time to approach him unnoticed and stick her foot out to trip him. The thug fell to the street and hit his head on the asphalt, quickly knocking him out, much to Mei's surprise.
"Wow," the otaku said. "Now that...was easy..."
"Yeah, well, what'd you think?" asked Mina while hatefully staring down at the man's motionless form. "We're going after a bunch of drunk guys, after all."
"Hey, Hatsume!" a familiar voice called. "Ashido!"
Mina looked over her shoulder and saw Izuku running up to her and Mei. As she did, Mei couldn't help but notice a light pass through the ganguro's eyes.
"Are you guys alright?!" Izuku cried.
"Y-Yeah," Mina replied, her expression suddenly turning aloof. "Why wouldn't we?" She placed a foot over the thug's back and stood over him. "We took care of this creep. I don't think he'll be waking up from that anytime soon."
"O-Okay. W-Well, ju-just to be safe..."
Izuku took out a roll of duct tape and used it to tie up the man's wrists and ankles. Once the crook's limbs were properly restrained, the viridescent boy glanced upward...only to flick his head away upon catching a split-second sight of a rather unfortunate place.
"Y-Y-You can t-ta-take y-yo-your f-fo-foot off no-now, A-As-Ashido," he stammered.
Mina blinked slowly, confused by Izuku's reaction. Then, after taking a moment to process the situation, she realized the boy was now at head-level and dangerously close with her crotch.
With a terrified squeal, the red-faced ganguro took her foot off and hurriedly scurried away from Izuku while keeping her legs closed. Mei observed the entire exchange, at first with stunned surprise, but then, her lips curled into a mischievous smirk. But before she could comment any further, a familiar wailing noise filled the air, growing closer with every passing second.
"Yo, the cops are coming!" Hanta cried from a short distance.
"We gotta skedaddle!" Denki added while attending to Eijiro.
"Alright!" Izuku replied. "Are all three of the thugs tied up?!"
"Yeah, looks like it!" Mei responded with a thumbs-up.
"HAHAHAHAHA!" cackled the forehead-tattooed thug. "Idiots. Fucking IDIOTS! Yer asking for it now!"
"Tough talk for someone who's all tied up and got beaten up by a bunch of kids," taunted Denki.
"HAHAHA! We're gonna be out of jail before any of you can say 'uncle'. We've got connections, kids! Connections with a lot of deep pockets! And when we're out, we're gonna sic those connections on you kids. They're gonna hunt y'all down and make you kids pay for what you just did to us! You don't mess with the likes of us!"
"Yeah, well, good luck with that," Eijiro replied while clutching his injured eye. "In fact, good luck telling your connections that you just got beaten up by a bunch of kids in costumes and that you want those kids taken care of."
The thug gritted his teeth in anger and growled into the asphalt, proving Eijiro's point.
With that, Izuku scanned his entire group. "Alright, then!" he announced. "Hero Club, let's leave! We've done enough for tonight."
The teenagers promptly ran off, leaving a confused Koji and the bound thugs in their wake.
Once Izuku and the others returned to the alleyway beside Nirengeki's restaurant, they started removing their masks or eyewear. As soon as he took off his domino mask, Denki peeked his head out of the alleyway to check on the responding police.
"Well," Hanta said upon removing his helmet, "that was, uh, surprisingly easy. I...honestly thought we'd be kicking more ass than that, but I suppose it's cuz we were going after a bunch of drunk guys."
"We're not out of the woods yet," Izuku replied once he removed his Yamikumo hood.
"Whaddaya mean, Midoriya?"
"Koda's our classmate. He could identify any of us."
"Aw relax, Midoriya," Denki said, withdrawing his head to look back at Izuku. "All the times I've ever looked at Koda, the dude's always had his head down. I don't think he'd recognize us."
Izuku frowned disapprovingly. "Looked at Koda? More like picked on him..." he thought.
At that moment, the side-door to the restaurant swung open, revealing a flustered Nirengeki.
"Oh, thank God!" he exclaimed, his voice cracking in the process. "I was so worried you guys wouldn't be standing here!"
"Well, what'd ya think was gonna happen, Shoda-kun?!" cried Mei, her smile wide while she gave her fellow club member a thumbs-up. "We're the Hero Club! We take down Villains, not the other way 'round!"
"W-We-Well, I-" Nirengeki paused upon seeing Eijiro, who was still holding his eye. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, what happened to Kirishima?!"
Everyone else looked at the redhead, and Mina immediately sprung to action.
"Kirishima!" she squeaked. "A-Are you alright?!"
"No, no, I'm fine!" Eijiro cried suddenly with a raised hand. "I'm fine, I'm fine. It's just a scratch."
He finally lowered his hand away from his eye, and the others grimaced in an instant.
"Dude!" Denki cried.
"That is NOT a scratch!" Hanta added.
Izuku merely remained silent as he stared into Eijiro's right eye. There was a vertical cut running across his brow, and a trickle of blood was oozing down to his eye, which was now screwed shut.
Then, Izuku's emerald pupils slowly gravitated toward the redhead's chipped teeth, still reminiscent to those of a shark. As he did, he could feel guilt and doubt tugging at his resolve again. But before those feelings could overwhelm him, he heard Mina's voice reaching him.
"Midoriya! Hey! Hey, Midoriya!"
Izuku shook his head to clear his stupor, and he found himself looking into the ganguro's eyes. He couldn't help but feel a strange sense of nostalgia from them.
"Do you have any bandages?!" she asked worriedly.
Izuku glanced at the others. "Does...Does no one else have them?!"
Denki and Hanta guiltily shook their heads, while Mei had her head lowered ambiguously.
"No, no, no!" Eijiro cried. "I'm serious, guys, I-I'm fine-"
"You're bleeding quite a bit, Kirishima!" Nirengeki cried in desperation. Then, he took a few deep breaths, but they failed to assuage him. "I...I was hoping it wouldn't come down to this, b-but I've got first-aid kits in the restaurant."
"Well?!" Mina snapped. "Go get 'em!"
Nirengeki nodded and went back into the restaurant before Eijiro could stop him.
"Jeez!" The redhead promptly held his hand over his eye again, a wince passing through his expression as he did. "I just told you guys, it's a scratch!"
"It could get infected, Kirishima!" replied Mina. "The last thing I want is you losing your sight in that one eye! GAH!" She threw her white eye-mask onto the ground. "I knew this was a stupid idea! I knew it!"
"Hey, we saved someone tonight, Ashido! You saved someone!"
"But at what cost?!"
"Ashido, you don't even know if this is gonna get infected! It's just a damn cut! Besides, doesn't what you just did make you feel good?!"
"It-!" Mina stopped, and her panicked expression slackened. "It..."
"It?" Eijiro asked in anticipation.
"It..." Then, the ganguro gritted her teeth and looked away. "It felt alright, 'kay?! But it doesn't mean what happened to your eye was worth it, Kirishima! If this is the price we're gonna pay for sticking our necks out for people, then...then I don't know if I want to commit to it in the long term!"
It wasn't Eijiro who had spoken. Mina turned towards Mei and saw that the pink-haired otaku was staring daggers at her. It was such a stark, drastic departure from her usual cheery, hyperactive self that it stunned Mina into silence. With that, Mei marched up to the ganguro and jabbed at her sternum with an index finger.
"You signed up for the Hero Club," Mei snarled in warning, "you're in it for life! It takes a lot of damn guts, what you did and what you were willing to do!"
"What I was willing to do?!" Mina repeated upon regaining her resolve. "I-I thought it was an...an opportunity for me to turn my life around for the better, but...but I never expected this!" She glared at Izuku, Denki, and Hanta. "I don't know about you guys, but I don't think I can keep doing this! Especially not after..."
Words suddenly failed her in that moment. Her voice trailed off, and her legs started to shake badly. Eyes widening with concern, Denki stepped forward with an outstretched hand.
"Yo, Ashido," he said. "You...You okay?"
The moment he touched her shoulder, a wild, feral look filled the ganguro's eyes. She grabbed her friend's wrist with all of the strength she could muster, and then spun him around until he slammed into the exterior restaurant wall.
"OW!" Denki tried to glare at Mina. "Goddamn, Ashido! What was that all about-?"
"Don't. Touch. Me."
Izuku's skin crawled at the ominous tone lacing Mina's voice. "Holy whoa, she's mad!"
"Okay, okay, Ashido!" Denki squealed, his eyes widening at the girl's toxic glare. "Chill, chill!"
With a huff, Mina let go of her friend and began panting and sweating, as if she had just got done with a long jog. Then, when reality set back in, Mina slowly looked at her own arm, her pupils becoming shaky...
The backdoor to the restaurant burst open, eliciting a terrified scream from Mina and startling the others.
"I got the first-aid kit, Kirishima!" Nirengeki announced with relief. "Now lemme take a look at-"
He stopped upon seeing the mortified Mina, who looked dangerously close to crumpling on her feet.
"Ummmmm...wh-wh-what'd I miss...?"
The night sky was painted in red and blue as yet another police vehicle drove onto the crime scene. The doors flew open, and Detectives Shinji Nishiya and Yu Takeyama stepped out. They scanned the scene, watching as junior officers finished cordoning off the area and setting up barricade tape. Nishiya narrowed his eyes and released a soft, elongated exhale, a lifelong habit of his whenever he sensed something off in the air.
"Nishiya!" a voice called. "Takeyama!"
Nishiya and Takeyama turned their heads towards the shorter yet imposing man standing right beside a dark police van. The man had gray eyes and equally gray, combed hair with a pointed fringe that obscured his right side. He was wearing a brown overcoat and still had fresh bandages on his left cheek.
"Sergeant Kamihara," Takeyama droned lifelessly.
Kamihara beckoned them to come over to him. With that, Nishiya and Takeyama walked up to the police van, and soon, the former was stunned to see its rear doors open, revealing the occupants inside.
"Well, well, well," Nishiya said, his lips curling into a sardonic smirk. "Look at what the cat dragged in. Again."
"Eh, laugh it up all ye want, Detective," the forehead-tattooed thug replied, raising his handcuffed hands slightly. "We're gonna be outta here within the hour and you know it. So just cut us loose while we're still ahead, huh?"
"I'll see what the boss has to say before I make any decisions." Nishiya turned towards the gray-haired man. "Fill me in, Sergeant. What'd they do this time?"
"They tried to rob that kid over there," Kamihara replied. He pointed towards a nearby cruiser, where Nishiya saw a large yet meek-looking boy being interrogated by another police officer.
"Yeah? Well, what else is new?"
"Well, this is. Apparently, our friends here were ambushed by a group of kids before they could carry out the deed."
Takeyama's head perked up for what seemed to be the first time today. She turned his head towards his sergeant, a tiny glimmer in her eyes as she repeated, "Ambushed?"
"Yeah. The kids restrained them and left. The first responding officers found them hogtied."
"We demand that you find those kids and arrest their sorry frigging asses!" the bald, crooked-nosed man snapped, while his compatriots nodded in agreement.
"Okay, okay," Nishiya said, his eyelid twitching. "So...you want to press charges." He pulled out a pen and notepad while giving them a noticeable grimace. "Would you mind giving me some descriptions?"
"That's the thing, Nishiya," Kamihara replied, his eyes narrowed. "They say the kids were in costumes."
Nishiya paused for a moment before clicking off his pen. "Costumes."
"Yeah, genius," the wild-eyed thug growled. "Costumes."
"It was like an otaku convention was in town," added the forehead-tattooed man.
"The kid they rescued can also verify that," Kamihara said.
"I see." The corners of Nishiya's lips twitched. "Well...case closed, I guess."
Kamihara and Takeyama glared at him with exasperation, while the three thugs slowly scowled. With that, the forehead-tattooed man stood up from his seat, showing off his burly composure to the detective.
"You sure have an attitude, Detective..." the thug snarled. Then, he focused on Kamihara and gave him a haughty wave. "Sergeant, please remind this jackass about his duties."
"Nishiya," Kamihara whispered harshly. "You know better than that."
"Well, what else can we do, Sergeant? If their assailants were costumed as they say, then there's no way they can make a positive ID on any of them."
"I got one of 'em!" snapped the forehead-tattooed man. "I know I hit one of 'em! They were complainin' like a bitch!"
"Did you see where exactly you hit this person?" asked Nishiya.
"Now how am I supposed to know that when I've got two other jackasses riding on top of me like I'm a damn bronco?!"
"Oh, oh, what about their voices?!" exclaimed the wild-eyed man. "We still remember their voices! Just make 'em speak, a-and we can-"
Nishiya slowly glared at the trio, his pleasure barely contained. "I can still smell the booze coming off you three. There is no way you three can make a reliable ID, voice or otherwise. Besides..." He began counting with his fingers. "Attempted robbery, menacing, public intoxication? God knows what else you did tonight."
The thugs glared at Kamihara, almost expecting him to intervene on their behalf. However, the sergeant remained silent and was simply writing something on his notepad. As for Takeyama, she was staring at the thugs with slight amusement.
"From where I'm standing," continued Nishiya, "it sounds like these kids you're describing were Good Samaritans, acting for that kid's best interests. Them fleeing and wearing costumes is suspicious behavior, but I think a lawyer can come up with a number of reasonable explanations."
The forehead-tattooed thug gritted his teeth. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
Nishiya shook his head. "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid there's not much we can do for you three in that regard."
But the detective's lips twitched again, which the thug quickly noticed. He tightly clenched his handcuffed fists, but a sly sneer crawled upon his face.
"Laugh all ya want, Detective," he said. "But don't you forget for a second who we're working for. When we're bailed out, we're gonna sic our friends on the high school."
Nishiya's face paled slightly, and even the amusement faded away from Takeyama's face. Nishiya flexed his fingers subtly as he cleared his throat.
"Is that a threat I'm hearing?" he asked, trying his best to sound calm.
"Ah, no, not at all!" The thug's sneer turned into a halfhearted grin of friendliness and warmth. "Not at all. Ya see, a few of my pals have relatives attending that school, and our organization's been interested in recruiting kids lately. You could say it's an impromptu...ohhhhh, what's it called again?"
"Job fair?" the wild-eyed thug asked, sounding somewhat unsure.
"Job fair! Yeah, yeah, right, a job fair! I mean, after all, we've always got job openings in our organization, and we could use all of the help we can get. And while we're at it, we could use that opportunity to shake the kids down a lil', see if we can weed out the ones who jumped me and my pals. Those kids sounded high school-age anyway, and it is the only high school in town, so...it can't be that hard to find 'em." The thug sneered down at Nishiya, Takeyama, and Kamihara. "That is, of course...unless you cops are willing to actually do your jobs."
This time, it was Nishiya's turn to grit his teeth and clench his fists tightly. However, after a brief flash of anger, he took a deep breath, cleared his throat, and straightened out his tie.
"Don't you worry, sir," he said in a lifeless, droning voice. "We will find your attackers and bring them to justice."
With all of the ambivalence in the world, he bowed his head politely at the thugs.
"You have my word on that."
"So, uh, the officer said your name's Koji Koda?"
Nishiya peered up from his notepad and saw the teenage boy standing in front of him, his face as red as the police sirens flashing beside him. He was twiddling his fingers and wearing an expression of absolute mortification, with beads of cold sweat dripping down his face. Now that he was in close proximity to the would-be robbery victim, Nishiya could now see a huge juxtaposition in play.
After all, a boy of Koji Koda's size would normally be more confident in himself, but not in this case, apparently.
"Hey, kid," he said, catching the boy's attention again. "Sorry, but I need you to listen up."
Koji almost slammed his face into his palms, and Nishiya could almost see the wave of shivering shoot up the large boy's body. The police detective couldn't help but sweat-drop at the embarrassing sight.
"Ne, Koda-kun," a voice piped up.
Nishiya looked beside him and saw Takeyama leaning forward slightly, wearing an uncharacteristically sweet smile on her face. Koji's attention was piqued by her, for he was peering at her through the gap between his index and middle fingers.
"Do you mind if I can call you Koda-kun?" Takeyama asked, and Nishiya suddenly felt as if he was listening to an entirely different person, someone who most definitely wasn't his partner.
Meanwhile, Koji looked unsure. "Mm...ummmmm..."
Takeyama gave him a sweet, friendly chuckle. "Does your mom call you 'Koda-kun'?"
"Mmm..." Then, Koji bobbed his head up and down rapidly. "M-Mm-hm!"
"Awww, that's so sweet. And I bet you talk to your mom about a lotta stuff. Am I right?"
"Mm-hm!" Koji nodded again. "Mm-hm!"
"And I bet you tell your mom stuff because you trust her, am I right?"
Again, more vigorous nodding. "Mm-hm!"
"Not anyone else, right?"
Then, all of a sudden, Koji remembered the circumstances of his situation. The energy left his body as quickly as it came, and the large boy turned his head away, his cheeks pink. An infinitesimal glimmer of concern passed through Takeyama's face before she smiled again.
"I know you're very scared, Koda-kun. And I understand if you don't trust us. We can wait for your mom to come and be with you. But I just wanted to let you know, Koda-kun, that we won't hurt you or judge you. You're not in any trouble at all. You can trust me."
Upon hearing that, Koji looked at Takeyama again, this time with a little awe speckled in his eyes.
Takeyama nodded at him. "Yes, that's right. You can trust me. There's no need to be afraid of me. Or my partner."
At that moment, Nishiya looked at Takeyama, slightly impressed. "Building rapport, huh...?" he thought.
"We're only here to listen," she continued. "Do you understand?"
Koji nodded rapidly again.
"Good, good. Now, my partner and I are, uh, on a time-crunch, so I need you to answer his questions to the best of your ability. Is that alright with you?"
Koji looked at Nishiya for a moment and scanned his form from head to toe twice. After the second time, he bit his lower lip in hesitation. Then, he finally nodded, slowly but surely. With his trust gained, Takeyama took a step backward, and Nishiya saw his cue.
"Alright...Koda-kun," he said. "What were you doing out here?"
"G-Go-Go-Going h-ho-ho-home f-fr-fr-from s-sc-sc-sch-school..." stammered Koji.
"I figured." Nishiya wrote down the answer on his notepad. "And you said you were cornered by those three men over at that mailbox." He pointed towards it. "Now, did they say anything? Anything at all?"
"St-St-Stuff." Koji began to shiver. "Th-The-They were dr-dr-drunk. A-Are they g-go-gone?"
"Yes, Koda-kun," Takeyama replied quickly. "They're gone. They do not know you're talking to us. You can be as truthful as you need to be."
"O-O-Okay." Then, Koji's eyes lit up. "Th-Th-Then I-I heard th-the ri-ri-rin-n-n-ging!"
Nishiya's head perked up. "Ringing? R-Ringing, you said?"
"Y-Ye-Yes..." The boy's face turned red from his outburst. "L-Li-Like a-an a-al-alarm cl-cl-clock..."
"Like an alarm clock..."
Nishiya pursed his lips and tried to think about all of the possibilities. Then, on a hunch, he pensively raised his wrist and showed Koji his wristwatch.
He pressed on a small button on the wristwatch, and it began beeping. As soon as he heard the noise, Koji's beady eyes widened in remembrance.
"Th-Tha-That's it!" the boy exclaimed.
"So you heard a watch beeping," Nishiya commented as he began writing the findings down. "A timer, perhaps..."
"Then what happened, Koda-kun?" Takeyama asked.
"Th-Th-Then th-the R-Ra-Rabbit M-Man a-appeared!" Koji cried, his voice now more energetic than usual.
Nishiya stopped writing. "The...Rabbit Man?"
"Y-Y-Yeah!" Then, Koji started fiddling with his fingers again. "W-We-Well, h-his c-co-costume l-lo-looked like a-a r-ra-ra-rabbit..."
"A costume...that looked like a rabbit..." Nishiya thought. "Why does that sound...familiar?"
"But...your intervention during one of their crimes gave us an excuse to bring them in for a crime we can actually stick them with. And for that, we are eternally grateful for you, Midoriya-kun, even if your, uh...methods were a bit unconventional."
Nishiya felt his heart drop to the pit of his stomach. He promptly clicked his pen off and hurriedly stuffed it back into the breast pocket of his coat.
"Thank you very much, Koda-kun," he said. "I think you've said enough."
Koji blinked in surprise. "H-Huh?"
"Hm?" Takeyama looked at her partner, mystified. "What is it, Nishiya?"
Nishiya ignored her and absentmindedly reached into his other breast pocket. "Your mother should be coming in a couple of minutes. Just stay here with the other officer and wait for her..." He procured a small card and gave it to the large yet meek adolescent. "Here. C-Contact me if you remember anything else."
Once Koji took the card, the detective turned around on his heel and walked off towards his and Takeyama's cruiser in a hurry. Stunned, Takeyama ran after Nishiya, nearly stumbling on the street from her surprise.
"Why, Nishiya?" she asked. "What came up?"
The only response she got from him was a heavy sigh and what sounded like a muttered curse. She puckered her lips in irritation.
"Hey, Nishiya! I'm talking to you!"
She could only hear more muttering and grumbling from him, even by the time they both reached their vehicle.
"Oi! Nishiya! You listening to me?!" With gritted teeth, she grabbed her partner's shoulder. "OI!"
Nishiya glared at her with ferocious eyes. "WHAT?!"
"God fucking DAMN it!" Takeyama stomped her foot down. "I'm asking a goddamn question, Nishiya, and you're ignoring me?! Have some respect for your partner!"
He rolled his eyes. "Oh, so now we're partners?"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Nishiya simply ground his teeth together. Then, with a deep breath, he unlocked the vehicle, opened the door, and got in on the driver's side, with Takeyama mirroring his movements on the passenger side. As soon as they were inside, Nishiya took another deep breath and clutched at the steering wheel. A heavy, awkward tension started forming inside the car, a tension that was accumulating and threatened to spill over.
Finally, after a few moments of silence, Takeyama spoke again.
"You done having a fit for no apparent reason?"
"It's not for 'no apparent reason'," grumbled Nishiya.
"Then what is it? If it's important to this investigation-"
"It is." Nishiya stared out of the front windshield. "I just don't know if I want to admit it..."
"Oi, stop being all mysterious and shady on me-"
Nishiya finally had enough. "I know who Koda-kun's savior is, okay?!"
The silence returned, but this time, it was more cold and horrifying than awkward and tense.
Then, Takeyama said, "Oh."
A/N: Well, that about concludes this chapter! I sure hope it was worth the wait. But if a lot of you jumped ship because you couldn't afford to wait any longer for an update, then I understand completely. Just know that I'll be doing my best to update this more frequently, preferably on a monthly basis, but a semimonthly updating schedule is also possible. In the meantime, I will be working on another "My Hero Academia" project.
Oh, yeah! Speaking of new "My Hero Academia" projects...
I know I promised that my next project would be an Izuku/Class 1-B fic, but unfortunately, as time passes, my interests have shifted to the MHA/MCU crossover that I mentioned before. I know, I know, I sure am quite indecisive. This is going to be something you will expect from me down the road. Anyway, my interest and passion for such a project has become so strong that I already have a few chapters done for that fic. So yes, I'm officially committed to the MHA/MCU crossover and will be publishing it soon. Damn right, it's a finalized project.
Don't worry, you guys. I'm still hard at work world-building the Class 1-B project. I'm feeling very excited about it, and I think there's a LOT of potential in the AU that I created, but I really want to hit the mark and do it right. Plus, the story's yet another AU (huh, I'm sensing a lil' pattern here) focusing on a somewhat popular but lesser-known Izuku pairing just like "Hero Club", and I don't want to be known for solely writing those kinds of fics. I also want to try my hand at writing fics that are completely set in the canon timeline, without any divergences in the continuity, and revolving around more mainstream ships.
Now, I'd like to thank the following for reviewing:
1) You should definitely come out of retirement! There's no time for writing like the present! :D :D :D
2) Yeah, the deconstruction should be fun. But it won't be as brutal as one would expect. I intend to give all our heroes a happy ending, regardless of the challenges that threaten to pick apart their worldviews in this realistic AU.
3) Thanks! I'm glad I've been keeping you motivated in your works! I do hope that motivation hasn't diminished because of the five-month wait you were forced to endure. For that, I sincerely apologize.
1) Thanks! I feel like Mina should get more exposure in the canon, because she's a pretty fun character in her own right. Hopefully her development will come to a head in conjunction with Kirishima's!
2) No comment.
-Lightgiver: Oh, my God, thank you so, SO MUCH for thinking of that for my story! I'm so glad I was able to attract you with this premise! I know Quirkless AUs aren't the most attractive trend for "My Hero Academia" fanfiction, especially if they aren't done right. Fortunately, I am a madman when it comes to creative writing. XD Anyway, your praise humbles me, truly! :D
-SuperShadic2002: Same with Lightgiver, I'm so happy you think this was an excellent read! I do hope you weren't put off by the five-month wait and jumped ship on me. Trust me, I'm still committed to finishing this; it's just that life can be a total bee-otch sometimes. :D
-Red Riot (guest reviewer):
1) Well, here's Chapter 15. Hope the wait was worth it.
2) Is that all you have to say in your review? I know it's a compliment, but please, pretty please, next time you review, I want specifics. What did you like about the chapter? What did you not like? Any comments or beliefs that I should know about? Any questions you might have? Please, I'd really like to be in the loop about these things so I can keep improving the story into something you love reading.
-SilentReader97: What makes you think that, if I might ask? I'm curious.
Well, hope you enjoyed this awfully late chapter! TheCartoonFanatic01 is out. PEACE! And always remember...PLUS ULTRA!